Say goodbye to the season on this last day of winter with my vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, a comfort food you can feel good about devouring. Butternut or kabocha squash make excellent choices, but any winter squash will work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.
My slow and spicy pinto beans are a great option for these tacos if you make them in advance. If you are pressed for time, simply use no-salt-added canned pinto beans.
Taco Ingredients: 1 medium winter squash, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon salt 2½ cups cooked pinto beans 1 lime ¼ cup chopped cilantro 12 soft corn tortilla shells
Topping Ingredients: ¼ cup sour cream ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 avocado, peeled and cubed 4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash cubes on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
Meanwhile, make smoky cream sauce by combining sour cream and yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Add smoked paprika and garlic, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add beans to roasting pan with squash and toss to combine. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes, until beans are heated. Drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle cilantro over squash and bean mixture.
Warm a couple of taco shells at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Fill corn tortillas with an equal amount of squash and bean mixture and top with smokey cream sauce, avocado and cotija cheese.
I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with and I enjoy it throughout the winter. I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Round out the meal with a salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.
Ingredients: 1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 2 teaspoons butter, divided 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit) ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles 5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.
I enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast every morning, but busy mornings leave me with little time for food prep. Overnight oats are one of my favorite go-to meals for hurried weekdays. They are almost effortless to assemble the night before and in the morning you have a delicious breakfast just waiting for you to open and enjoy. Preparing this recipe in a mason jar makes it a great portable breakfast option.
Pureed butternut squash is a fresh alternative to cooking with canned pumpkin, and it is extremely easy to make. After roasting the squash, simply puree in a food processor. If you have extra on hand it freezes well for future use, saving even more time when making these nutritious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats.
Ingredients: ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats ½ cup pureed butternut squash ½ cup skim milk or non-dairy milk of choice ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of choice 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted 1 tablespoon maple syrup ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
In a pint-sized mason jar, add all ingredients and gently stir to combine. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy as a cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.
Beans and butternut squash are two of my favorite combinations, and they are bundled up in a wrap along with caramelized onions to create a healthy and comforting meal. Creamy black bean hummus adds lean protein to this vegetarian wrap and also helps hold it all together. My Black Bean Hummus recipe, which you can whip up in less than five minutes, is perfect for this dish. If you want to give new life to your leftovers for a different meal the next day, serve the squash and onions on top of a salad and enjoy the hummus as a side dish with tortilla or pita chips.
Ingredients: 1 small butternut squashed, peeled, seeded and cubed 1½ tablespoon olive oil, divided ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon butter 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon sugar 4 tortillas Black Bean Hummus 2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a half baking sheet, place butternut squash and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
Spread a fourth of the black bean hummus on each tortilla and top with a fourth of the butternut squash and caramelized onions. Add ½ cup spinach to each tortilla, wrap tightly to secure vegetables and serve.
Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book. Leftovers freeze well, just defrost in the refrigerator and warm up on the stovetop for a super fast meal.
Ingredients: 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, peeled and diced 8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced 1 teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth Sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side down. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Topped with Pecan Sorghum Granola, these pumpkin-like, mini-muffins make the perfect addition to a brunch spread and are also a great grab-and-go breakfast option for busy mornings. Pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice deliver flavors of fall in a moist muffin that is not overly sweetened. If you manage not to eat them all within a few days, extras freeze well for a quick and delicious breakfast that is safely stored away for another day.
Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ¾ cup brown sugar ¼ cup canola oil 2 eggs, lightly beaten ½ cup unsweetened applesauce ½ cup low-fat milk 1 cup pureed butternut squash ¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce, milk and butternut squash. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle tops of batter with granola. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, muffin tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.
Granola on a salad sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious! The first granola-topped salad I ever tasted was amazingly delicious, made with pine nuts from the BlueFire Bar and Grill. With just one bite it fueled my curiosity to create my own nutty sweet salad topping. My version, Pecan Sorghum Granola, features seasonal pecans and whole grain oats that are lightly sweetened with sorghum, adding the perfect crunch to this fall salad with earthy, tender-roasted beets and mildly sweet acorn squash.
A simple vinaigrette is all you need for this flavorful salad bursting with color and nutrients. For some extra protein, top with grilled chicken or shrimp. Save cook time by using leftover roasted squash and beets from last night’s dinner and granola from breakfast for a salad you can throw together in about two minutes.
Salad Ingredients: 1 bunch beets, scrubbed 1 acorn squash or butternut squash 2 teaspoons olive oil ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 bunch or 6 ounce bag spinach ¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola 4 ounces goat cheese
Vinaigrette Ingredients: ¼ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon honey mustard ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the skin on the beets and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 35 to 55 minutes, depending on their size. Remove beets and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a small pairing knife, gently remove skin from the beets and chop into cubes.
Meanwhile, peel squash and slice in half. Discard seeds and chop into cubes. Place on a baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Tightly secure the lid and shake until well combined.
Create a bed of spinach on four plates and top with an equal amount of roasted beets and squash. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on each salad and sprinkle with my crunchy granola and a drizzle of vinaigrette.
Butternut squash adds a touch of sweetness to this vegetarian burger as it compliments the nutty chickpeas, toasted walnuts, fried sage leaves and blue cheese. This hearty burger pairs well with homemade french fries or a simple side salad.
Veggie burgers are so easy to make and these homemade patties taste a million times better than any of the frozen varieties. If you have never had a homemade vegetarian burger, you are in for a treat. And speaking of frozen patties, leftovers freeze well for a quick meal down the road.
Ingredients: 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ tablespoon butter 7 fresh sage leaves 1 (15.5 ounces) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 egg 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup quick cooking oats ½ cup walnuts, toasted ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese ¼ cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Spring mix lettuce, for serving 8 whole wheat buns
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat before arranging squash in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a food processor, combine the squash, chickpeas, egg, garlic, oats, walnuts, salt and pepper. Crumble the fried sage leaves into the mixture. Pulse until thoroughly combined, and form into 8 patties.
Spray a nonstick skillet, grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Top with an equal amount of cheese crumbles after you flip the burger, this will allow time for just enough melting to keep the cheese in place.
While butternut squash burgers cook, whisk together mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar. Set balsamic mayo aside until ready to serve.
Serve butternut squash burgers on whole wheat buns spread with balsamic mayo and topped with desired amount of spring mix lettuce.
Start your Thanksgiving morning off with these scrumptious Fall Harvest Pancakes made with pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice. Whether you are refueling after running a turkey trot race or kicking back and watching the Macy’s parade, this breakfast dish will satisfy your morning appetite and give you a new appreciation for fall squash. If you are eating light to save room for all the carbs to come, extra pancakes will freeze well for a quick reheat another day.
I am thankful for my blog readers today and every day. I hope you all have hearts full of gratitude and plates full of delicious food. Happy Thanksgiving!
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups milk
1½ cups pureed butternut squash
1 tablespoon sorghum
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for greasing the griddle or skillet
freshly grated whole nutmeg or ground nutmeg
walnut pieces, toasted
maple syrup for serving
Preheat a griddle or large skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add milk, squash, sorghum and canola oil and mix to combine.
Working in batches, pour around ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle or into the skillet to create pancakes, keeping them evenly spaced apart. Cook until bubbles start to form on one side and the bottoms turn golden brown. Flip to cook the other side and repeat until you have 18 to 20 pancakes.
If desired, sprinkle pancakes with a dash of nutmeg and top with walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Butternut squash is the star of my Winter Vegetable Salad, creating a hearty meal that is satisfying for lunch or dinner. Caramelized onions, toasted pecans and creamy goat cheese give this salad a mixture of sweet, savory, crunchy and velvety goodness.
This colorful bowl of nutritious ingredients will brighten your mood, even on a cold and cloudy winter day. Enjoy it with ingredients warm from the oven and stove top or with chilled squash and onions that you have prepared in advance.
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 ounces (about 4 tablespoons) goat cheese, crumbled
Bottled salad dressing, such as Champaign vinaigrette
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over squash and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
3. Add 2 cups of lettuce to each plate and top with equal amounts of squash, caramelized onions, pecans and goat cheese.
4. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing and serve.
Note: You can substitute baby spinach or your favorite leafy greens for romaine and any type of winter squash for the butternut. Use whatever fresh produce you can get your hands on in February.